Steve Riley thinks W.A.S.P. lost a huge piece of the band when Blackie Lawless fired Randy Piper
L.A. Guns‘ long-time drummer Steve Riley was recently interviewed by Mitch Lafon for the Rock Talk with Mitch Lafon podcast. Riley‘s version of L.A. Guns which also features Kelly Nickels on bass, Scott Griffin on lead guitar and Kurt Frohlich on lead vocals will be releasing a new single titled “Crawl” in three days (on April 20, 2020) and a new studio album titled Renegades later this year.
Riley spoke about how W.A.S.P. frontman Blackie Lawless dismantled the band’s classic line-up back in the mid to late ’80s, which featured Riley on drums along with Chris Holmes and Randy Piper on guitars.
Riley was asked why he joined L.A. Guns that were basically playing clubs after having been a part of W.A.S.P. that had released albums such as The Last Command in 1985. Riley replied (as transcribed by Sleaze Roxx):
“No. It was definitely not my move. I told people so many times. I loved being in W.A.S.P.. I thought that Blackie, Chris Holmes, Randy Piper and myself were a great band. I thought that we were on a roll and I thought not only theatrically did we look good, we sounded great live. We absolutely made headliners shiver. And I mean big headliners because we tore up places. We got the crowd going so crazy. So you know, after we do The Last Command, Blackie decides to fire Randy Piper. And that firing, that was letting go a huge piece of the band because not only was he a great lead guitar player. Remember, he did a lot of the leads. Him and Chris, they were both lead guitar players but a lot of those Billy Gibbons type of leads that you hear like on “Blind In Texas”, that’s Randy Piper playing.
So not only are we losing a great guitar player but he was the second voice of the band too. He was that second voice. He was the guy that was harmonizing with Blackie on all of the songs. I sang a third part and Chris didn’t sing at all. But Randy was a huge, huge piece how W.A.S.P. sounded and looked and when Blackie on his own decided… Well, it was his band but he decided to fire Randy. When he fired Randy and we went in and did [Inside The] Electric Circus, then Live…In The Raw, he was slowly pulling the whole band apart. I was the next one to go. I was fired from W.A.S.P.. I didn’t quit. You know, I thought that you knew that.
I got fired from W.A.S.P. and after he fired me, he kept Chris for a few years and then he fired Chris. Blackie slowly dismantled W.A.S.P. and that was a shame because that original W.A.S.P. was me, Randy, Chris and Blackie. We were good. We were really, really good and we knew it too. It was a shame that he did that. I did that Live…In The Raw album and that tour for [Inside The] Electric Circus which was recorded. That was the Live…In The Raw album that was recorded pretty much on that tour for [Inside The] Electric Circus. So right after that tour, Blackie let me go.
So when he let me go, I mean, I was disappointed to the max. Big time because I really wanted to stay with the band but I could also see that you know, without Randy, it was a totally different sounding band. I was nothing against Johnny Rod but when Blackie let Randy go, he decided to be the second guitar player and he couldn’t match up with Randy, what Randy did on guitar. So it was a totally different sounding band but even so, I was still 100% into W.A.S.P.. When he decided to let me go, that was a big disappointment. I really didn’t know what I was going to do.”
Riley of course went on to join L.A. Guns just as the group released its self-titled album and Riley has been in the band ever since with the exception of a few years when he was fired from the group in 1992 before returning to the line-up for the tour in support of the album Vicious Circle (1994). Riley eventually obtained a 50-50 stake along with guitarist Tracii Guns in L.A. Guns, which explains the two versions of the group since 2006.
You can listen to the interview with Steve Riley by Mitch Lafon for the Rock Talk with Mitch Lafon podcast below:
Rock Talk With Mitch Lafon presents drummer Steve Riley (recorded April 2020).Steve discusses his new album Renegades that features singer Kurt Frohlich, bas…
W.A.S.P.‘s “Blind in Texas” video (from The Last Command album):
W.A.S.P. – Blind In Texas OFFICIAL video in HQ and lyrics included!!The song was released on their “The Last Command” album on November 9, 1985. The Last Com…